19 October 2018
The Bibbulum Track is now twenty years old and showing wear and tear at various places along its length often due to erosion from rain made worse by the Track running almost straight up and down hill in places. Conventional repair methods have produced short-lived results requiring frequent time-consuming maintenance. Wind has also accelerated erosion along the south coast particularly at Conspicuous cliffs where the delicate sand layer has disappeared in places to expose the underlying limestone base.
The rising popularity of walking and mountain biking has lead to developments in durable trail design, construction and maintenance, which are being applied to the Track in a strategic programme of realignments or stabilisation.
Walkers will have experienced recent realignments in the Perth Hills District near Mann’s Gully and Waalegh and Canning campsites where realignments have been designed and constructed to cross the slope rather than go straight down like the old route, with the intention of eliminating erosion from rain. The presence of rock in several areas provided a solid base enabling the route to descend before returning to join the existing alignment.
While realignments using the new design principles might produce a more durable trail they do require a range of lengthy and sometimes costly approvals and might bypass some of those spectacular views for which the Bibbulmun Track is renowned, such as the top of Conspicuous cliffs. In such cases boardwalks or stabilisation of the existing trail using plastic cellular pavers are options.
A group of Bibbulmun Track Support Volunteers has been trained by Parks and Wildlife staff and earlier this year assessed sites of erosion and inundation between Conspicuous cliffs and Parry Campground. The report recommended a mix of stabilisation and realignments some of which will be constructed over a number of years.
Following the findings of the 2017 Vision Workshop other sections of Track have been selected for possible realignment or stabilisation and, if feasible, will be included in an overall improvements programme for implementation by the Foundation’s maintenance volunteers supported by Parks and Wildlife.